Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the meeting 5th December 2011

1. Attendance:
Roger Cornwell, Simon James, Ann Evans, Mike Costello, Lesley Aers, Jackie Levitas, Jean Rogers, Jeff Young, Janie Bickersteth
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Cllr. Nigel Martin, Cllr. Grenwille Holland, John Halliday (Neighbourhood Warden), Colin Green, Richard Fong, Odile Fong, Desmond Evans, Malgorzata Bialek, Carole Reeves and Jan Harwood.
3. Roger Cornwell chaired the meeting.
4. Neighbourhood Warden's Report/ Police Report / AAP report
John Halliday sent his apologies; there had been no word from Police or AAP representatives.
On a police-related issue, Mike Costello had referred a leaflet from Hope Estates to the police, who agreed that some of the quotes in the leaflet are inappropriate, especially those involving crime and disorder. Hope Estates have agreed to amend future versions of the leaflet. Joanne Waller of the AAP had also referred the leaflet to Trading Standards as the 'bill free' option in the leaflets implied unlimited use of utilities but a cap was in fact placed on usage.
5. The minutes of the previous meeting
Simon James clarified what he was reported as saying under item 10 (Student Charter): the Charter is brought into being as a result of the forthcoming fees regime, but is not intended as a service agreement between students and the University.
With this amendment, the minutes were agreed as a correct record.
6. Matters arising
1) Refuse collection There was general dissatisfaction at the lack of information: when only half the recycling was collected, Ann Evans was told the collection would be completed "tomorrow" (whereas Roger Cornwell was given the correct timing i.e. Monday).
There were a number of suggestions about how information could be disseminated - a FaceBook page, through the college Livers Out representatives - but it was agreed that the council need a way of informing all those affected that there is a problem and what they should do about it.
2) County Durham Plan: Carole Reeves draft letter was approved as amended.
3) The Tourist Information: following Ann Evans' suggestion (that members test the Council's assertion that other sources could provide visitors to the City with information), Jean Rogers and Roger Cornwell had called at the Town Hall on the Saturday before the Lumiere Festival, but found it closed. Simon James had approached the World Heritage Centre and asked what else might be available to visitors coming to see Lumiere, but found no information except that about the World Heritage site.
It was agreed that we continue to gather information, and consider what action might be taken at next month's meeting.
4) Market Place Meeting Mike Costello had attended the meeting on behalf of the CCP. He reported that the head of the Highways department was present and had discussed the issues raised but not proposed any action. Foe example, the Market Place could not be cleaned before the market as this starts too early; the signs about the congestion charge give the wrong price but cannot be changed as they have been approved by the Secretary of State. There will be a further meeting in January, at a date to be announced.
5) Treasurer Agreed that this item should remain on the agenda, to remind members that we need a treasurer.
6) The proposed dates of meetings for 2012 are all available at Waddington Street (not necessarily in the upstairs room), but the church had pointed out that external users like ourselves must carry our own Public Liability Insurance. Roger Cornwell had approached Barrie of Durham about this, and they had quoted an annual fee of £191. Since this more than doubles the cost of room hire, it was generally felt to be disproportionate, and the meeting decided instead to investigate alternative venues. Janie Bickersteth agreed to approach Antioch House.
7. Residents' views of student housing in Durham
The Council has commissioned BRE to look into this; they have set up a series of focus group meetings, and Roger would pass on to them the names of those able to attend.
8. Voluntary Code of Practice on Letting Boards in Durham
Several people had written to various officers of the Council objecting to this, but no-one had yet received a reply.
Roger had found a letter from the then head of Planning saying that the code would come into force on 29th March 2008.
It was reported that some colleges advise students to hold back from committing themselves, but others tell them to get in early; also that there had been a rise in students seeking help with disputes within their households, because they were forming groups to rent a house before they really knew each other.
It was agreed that Roger should write to Roberta Backman Woods, asking her to organise a meeting of interested parties.
9. Lumiere
Press coverage had been very polarised, either praising the event or condemning the organisation, but there was no sign of any attempt to strike a balance. Simon James told the meeting that the Council had already met the organisers for feedback, but that the website was still open and still being monitored, so people should continue to comment at
10. Any Other Business
1) An e-mail had been received about the University's City Liaison Meeting - Ann Evans would attend.
2) 19 The Peth has reapplied for planning permission for a garage facing onto the Avenue. Janie Bickersteth had looked at the plans and felt that the proposed building was still too large in scale. Others present had not yet looked at the plans, but it was agreed that the meeting would prefer the application to go to the Planning Committee.
3) Byland Lodge: the Planning department say they are unable to prevent houses being bought for letting.
4) Article 4 Directive: Jackie Levitas will make enquiries about how best to organise a meeting of interested parties.
11. Date of next meeting
Tuesday 10th January 2012, venue to be determined.